Chiswick security expert supplies tech support for Ukrainian refugees

Image above: Charlie Jamieson and his two children

A father of two based in Chiswick is raising money to help provide electrical equipment to support Poland’s struggling refugee centres.

Charlie Jamieson is hoping to raise £15,000 to buy laptops, computers and other electrical items to supply three centres in Przemusl, a town on the border with Ukraine which is currently receiving up to 20,000 refugees a day.

Charlie is the Chief Technology Officer for Mitmark, private company largely made up of British ex-special forces personnel. Mitmark say they ‘Prevent, respond and protect against all threats to security on a local and global scale’.

As Mitmark’s ‘in house geek’, Charlie volunteered to drive from London to Poland with as many large screens, laptops and digital signage equipment that could fit into his van. The tech is helping those in need find the correct staff, in the correct language, to get to the correct coach to the correct country, on time.

Other electrical items needed at the border include USB charging stations and anything which increases mobile data capacity. These will allow hundredss of people at a time to charge and use their own tech, so they can contact friends and family.

As of 16 March, £10,130 has been raised out of the £15,000 target. Initially the target was lower, between £3000-5000, but GoFundMe’s public relations team and local press have helped boost donations.

“If we raise more than we need, we’ll do the same process for every refugee receiving centre in Poland, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia under our remit” said Charlie.

Below: a YouTube video by Mitmark showing inside of one of Przemusl’s refugee centres

Laptops, screens and electrical infrastructure urgently needed

Currently 15,000-20,000 refugees are arriving from Ukraine every single day at the Polish centres. Those fleeing the invasion are met with long queues because there is a lack of electrical items to get people moving along more smoothly. One of the main problems the centres face is communication.

Charlie said:

“You’ve basically got a few guys, with a few laptops, and then loads of queues. [Refugees] come in, they get received, and they don’t really know what to do after that.

“Imagine if you went to Heathrow and all the screens were broken – people would be running around like headless chickens. So that’s what we’re doing to speed up the whole process, because then you get more people through the door, and most importantly, out of the door.”

Mobile data in the centres is being severely impacted too, by the sheer quantity of people arriving. Technology which will boost mobile data capabilities is something which is urgently needed.

Below: a YouTube video by Mitmark showing the inside of one of Przemusl’s refugee centres

Mitmark ‘providing operational support’

The company Charlie works for, Mitmark, is providing ‘operational support’ to three of Przemusl’s refugee centres. The company has posted videos to YouTube portraying the situation within them.

Mitmark often provide humanitarian aid. During the pandemic, the company deployed thermal imaging cameras to the NHS to help out with fever screening. Having a broad range of staff with various skills on their payroll, travelling to a foreign country and setting up a communications network is something they are well-equipped to do.

Charlie’s original plan was to load up a van with screens in the UK, and make the three-and-a-half-day car journey to Poland to install them there. But now, as soon as he has raised enough money, he plans to fly to Germany and hire a van there, buy the screens in Poland and then set them up.

Within two weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, over two million Ukrainians had fled the country – one of the biggest refugee crises in decades.

If you would like to donate to Charlie’s fundraiser, you can follow the link below:

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Huge response from Chiswick for donations for Ukrainian refugees

See also: Chiswick sends aid to Ukrainian refugees

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